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Monday message board

January 29th, 2007

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. As usual, civilised discussion and absolutely no coarse language, please.

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  1. Steve
    January 29th, 2007 at 11:22 | #1

    I see the NSW Government is cocking up another project:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/smartcard-a-flop-says-bus-industry/2007/01/28/1169919213293.html

    Could it be that part of the reason why PPPs seem to go awry is that the public sector does not possess the capability in hard-nosed contract management required to get these things to work?

    Or is the public sector limited in how aggressive it can be in contract management to avoid an outbreak of unsavoury media, even where tough action is required?

  2. January 29th, 2007 at 11:32 | #2

    I will kick off with two Big Picture notions that have been bugging me recently, one intellectual, the other ideological.

    The intellectual issue is the best method for predicting elections. At the moment the pollsters seem to have gotten a jump on the pundits since the punters started to play catch-up on Howard’s declining political fortunes. So this election will be a crucial test of the punters versus pollsters thesis.

    The ideological one is the likeilihood of a regional Shiite v Suuni civil war breaking out as the US leaves Iraq. What chance is there that the Saudis will square off against the Iranians in the fight to control Mesopotamia?

  3. January 29th, 2007 at 11:49 | #3

    Jack,
    Militarily, the Saudis would not have a prayer against Iran. US support is vital for them and the US will not trnasfer their best technology to the Saudis to help make up the difference in numbers. So, no contest.
    On the first question – the punters and the pollsters feed off each other to an extent, so the question is a difficult one, as is any attempt to predict the future. The punters will be pricing in the propensity of either side to make a gaffe – but whether one happens or not can greatly affect the electoral outcome.
    I am a fan of the punters’ side of the argument, but that is probably through my belief that people are rather rational when using their own money. I do not see any election as being a “crucial test” as the debate will (IMHO) never really be settled.

  4. January 29th, 2007 at 12:15 | #4

    Another point in the methodology of political prediction: politcometry. The economic model of politics suggests Howards should walz home. Not looking likely now.

  5. January 29th, 2007 at 12:47 | #5

    Jack,
    From memory – exactly the same thing was being said at this stage 3 years ago. While Rudd is not Latham, your assessment may be a little premature.

  6. jquiggin
    January 29th, 2007 at 15:18 | #6

    Given their success in predicting the Bullets’ so-far stellar season, I will keep my promise not to say anything rude about betting markets. For the record, I note that they still have the government ahead, and only moved a little in response to Rudd’s arrival.

  7. still working it out
    January 29th, 2007 at 16:43 | #7

    “What chance is there that the Saudis will square off against the Iranians in the fight to control Mesopotamia?

    The Saudi’s can’t fight the Iranians. The Saudi Arabia’s leaders, like the leaders of most sunni countries, are too politically weak to risk having a real military. I would go one step further than AR and say technology would make no difference. Its why they’re terrified of America leaving Iraq.

    If it comes to a civil war in Iraq then the Saudi’s will not be able to do much. The Iranians have organistaion, training, loyalty, proven tactics, a real army, weapons, money, and the majority of the population in Iraq.

    The Saudi’s have money, the Americans and pretty much nothing else. Little popular support. No troops. And even the American support is questionable. The current Whitehouse is foolishly not much interested in the Saudi alliance. The Saudi’s will stand on the sidelines handing out $100 bills to sunni guerilla’s who will soon hold them in contempt as they contrast it with the real support their shiite enemies get from Iran. Saudi Arabia, like most of the Middle East is just too weak to do much.

  8. Jill Rush
    January 29th, 2007 at 21:31 | #8

    Two items on TV tonight were an ironic comment on life. One was about the increasing propensity of young people to have Australian flags tattooed on themselves and to drape the flag around themselves as they abuse others who don’t show the same enthusiasm for their love of the country. The flag is used on a most disrespectful manner which must shock war veterans who never have treated the flag in this way.

    The firefighters who have fought the bush fires in Victoria on the other hand can’t get young people to help them and yet this would be a true showing of love for the country.

    And yet the issue that John Howard cared to talk about in the week leading up to Australia Day is the right for the young people who are more interested in drinking to wear the flag as a fashion statement, rather than urging them to be patriotic by volunteering and wearing the colours of fire fighters. This would sort out those to whom patriotism is just a way of saying “In your face” and those who really do defend Australian values of home and community.

    Of course the fact that volunteer fire fighters are out of pocket and face real danger could mean the Federal Government being asked for a contribution whereas the support for rabid flag wearers is the cheap option. It really is an ugly spirit of Australianism that he rides.

  9. pseudonym (econowit)
    February 1st, 2007 at 16:07 | #9

    Steve Said:
    “Could it be that part of the reason why PPPs seem to go awry ?�;
    is that people like NSW Finance Minister John Della Bosca do not understand what a $60 Million loss is.

    In reference to the public sector employees State Superannuation Fund writing off a $60 million equity investment in Sydney’s Cross City Tunnel, NSW Finance Minister John Della Bosca is quoted as saying;
    “There are no costs to taxpayers here. There are no losses to fund members.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Tunnel-flop-wont-cost-NSW-taxpayers/2007/02/01/1169919452315.html

    This is the calibre of the Labor ‘clowns in Macquarie Street’; unfortunatly they have the keys to the till.

  10. February 2nd, 2007 at 08:07 | #10

    Spot of bother over at the Loewenstein blog, chaps. Seems Rupert was not too keen to publish a commisioned article on Jimmy Carter’s accusations of Israeli apartheid. Imagine that!

  11. February 2nd, 2007 at 14:49 | #11

    Message to Kevin Rudd: the next election really IS un-loseable. John Howard is surrounded by sycophants and TOTALLY OUT OF TOUCH. If the Libs don’t dump him soon it will be to their eternal regret (better to go out a “winner” like Thatcher eh?).

    Here are my Top 10 reasons for dumping Howard. He is out of touch…

    1. ON global warming

    2. ON Industrial Relations

    3. ON water

    4. ON David Hicks

    5. ON childcare

    6. ON Fiji

    7. ON religion

    8. ON the sale of Qantas

    9. ON nuclear power

    10. ON climate change

    11. Yeah, I didn’t even mention the bloody Iraq War and George W. Bush and the three interest rate hikes since the last election and … ?

  12. February 2nd, 2007 at 14:50 | #12

    I wish you and Road to Surfdom did not have the same crappy commenting software. Please take a look at Antony Loewenstein’s blog, which seems to work quite beautifully.

  13. February 2nd, 2007 at 15:50 | #13

    Have a look at Brad Delong’s blog – he is suggesting that he and JQ could get together to pontificate profitably on climate change.

  14. melanie
    February 2nd, 2007 at 20:29 | #14

    Gandhi, What you clearly don’t understand is that Rudd is already the PM – though as yet unelected. Haven’t you noticed that every time Kevin says something, the elected version comes out the next day to trump him (or try to)?

  15. Simonjm
    February 4th, 2007 at 21:38 | #15

    Middle East: An end to US primacy?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6328753.stm

    Does this go down as the mother of all US F#$KUPs?

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